Travis Salway Hottes

Preventing Suicide Among Gay and Bisexual Men

Given that gay and bisexual men continue to face pervasive stigma, it is not surprising that we also have disproportionately high rates of suicide in our communities. Suicide continues to affect gay and bisexual men of all ages, in spite of important gains in legal protections for sexual minorities in some countries. Suicide thus remains a major cause of death for gay and bisexual men. In 2011, it is estimated that as many Canadian gay and bisexual men died from suicide as died from HIV (Hottes, Ferlatte and Gesink, 2015).

Suicide is a major cause of death for gay and bisexual men

The recent social media outpouring in response to Robin Williams’ suicide reminded me of a similar spate of media attention to suicide several years ago. In the fall of 2010, four gay teenagers from across the US killed themselves—all within a few weeks—after facing relentless harassment and bullying at their respective schools. (1) I remember feeling a visceral connection to their distress. One of them lived in a small town in Indiana, just across the state border from my hometown. His death affected me more profoundly than Williams’. I could imagine all too well what he experienced at school and why he may have felt there was no other solution to his crisis.

Subscribe to Travis Salway Hottes